Oz in the News 12.30.16

rexfeatures_6363777aDebbie Reynolds Owned Ruby Slippers From ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and $25M in Hollywood Memorabilia Reynolds was an iconic star of the big screen during the 1950s and ‘60s, best known for her roles in “Singin’ in the Rain” — tap dancing opposite Gene Kelly — and the titular part in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” for which she earned an Oscar nomination in 1964. Later in her career, Reynolds exercised her many creative pursuits as a cabaret performer (sometimes alongside her daughter), as well as a fashion designer with a namesake line of dresses. Throughout her time in showbiz, Reynolds was an avid memorabilia collector who once owned a Las Vegas museum (closed in 1997) full of Hollywood movie treasures. Over the years, Reynolds has earned more than $25 million through sales of items she first bought from MGM in 1970. She spent more than $600,000 at the time on iconic props and costumes, including Charlie Chaplin’s bowler, one of Scarlett O’Hara’s dresses from “Gone With the Wind” and a pair of ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” She paid $300 for an off-screen test pair of the glittery shoes worn by Judy Garland that the studio had in its vaults. In 2011, Reynolds sold the shoes for $690,000 to a private buyer in an auction.

Meredith Monk’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ Moment Meredith Monk, 74, is a composer, singer and director who in 2015 was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She recently released her 16th album, “On Behalf of Nature” (ECM). She spoke with Marc Myers. “Across the boulevard was the Trylon movie theater, where I saw “The Wizard of Oz” in the mid-40s. After that, I was afraid Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch, would come up my fire escape to get me. I believed the people I saw on the screen lived in the theater. In the early ’80s, I had a chance to meet Margaret Hamilton. She was working with my mother in the Veterans Bedside Network program at a hospital in New York. We spoke, and she turned out to be the sweetest person.”

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